One of our favorite autumn side dishes is this variation on the French classic of red cabbage braised in red wine and red wine vinegar. I add carrots and beets, as well as some tart apple. I used to put a pinch of ground cloves in this, but then I saw in Marcus Samuelsson’s cookbook, “Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine,” that he uses garam masala, as well as cinnamon and fresh ginger, in his braised red cabbage. To my mind, however, the garam masala alone adds just the right touch of spice. I do like Samuelsson’s addition of maple syrup toward the end of the cooking time, though with the beets and carrots, I use much less. The dish is started on the stove, then moved to the oven where the vegetables are braised, covered for an hour, and then allowed to roast, uncovered, for about another hour. Like so many braises, this improves with a day or so of resting. I hope you enjoy this. ;o) - AntoniaJames —AntoniaJames
Test Kitchen Notes
This is a great fall vegetable recipe that I highly recommend everyone have in their files. The amount of garam masala is perfect -- enough to give a bit of spice, but not enough to be overwhelming. Just like AntoniaJames says, this was delicious on the day it was made, and even better the second and third days as it became a bit sweeter. The colors are beautiful as well. This is bound to be my go-to red cabbage recipe from now on. - VanessaS —VanessaS
8 with leftovers
½ pound small or medium red beets
2 ounces pancetta, cut into small dice
1 small head of red cabbage (about 1 ½ pounds), quartered, cored and finely sliced
1 large or 2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 fresh bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thick julienne, about 1 ½ inch long
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove tops, wash and wrap beets in foil. Cut larger ones in half, if necessary, so the size of the pieces is consistent. Place in a small baking dish and roast in the oven for about 30 – 40 minutes, or until just barely tender. (Test them with a sharp knife, being very careful as you open the foil, as it will release hot steam that could burn you, badly.)
In a wide, oven-proof braising dish, cook the pancetta over medium heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the onions and cabbage and toss them with the fat rendered from the pancetta, with a hefty pinch of salt. Cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes, stirring all the while, just until the cabbage starts to wilt.
Add all of the other ingredients except the maple syrup, beets, salt and pepper. Stir well. Put in the oven, covered.
When the beets are just tender, and cool enough to handle, slip off their skins and quarter them. Then slice each quarter into three or four pieces, crosswise. Add to the braising pan and stir to incorporate.
Cover the pot and return it to the oven for about an hour, all told, from when you first put it in.
Remove the lid, stir it well, and return it to the oven, uncovered. Cook for another 30 minutes, giving it a good stir after fifteen minutes.
Add the maple syrup and stir again. Cook for another 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
This tastes better after it’s had a chance to sit for at least a few hours, but preferably a day or two.
I hope you like this. Your devoted friend, AntoniaJames ;o)
N.B.: To make this vegetarian, simply replace the pancetta with about 3 tablespoons of good butter, which you’d melt and use for sweating the onions at the outset, before adding the cabbage. ;o)
When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)